In this involving, compassionate memoir, Christina Thompson tells the story of her romance and eventual marriage to a Maori man, interspersing it with a narrative history of the cultural collision between Westerners and the Maoris of New Zealand. Despite their significant differences, Thompson and her husband, Seven, share a similar sense of adventure and a willingness to depart from the customs of their families and forge a life together on their own. Thompson explores cultural displacement through the ages and the fascinating history of Europeans in the South Pacific, beginning with Abel Tasman's discovery of New Zealand in 1642. Yet at its core, this is the story of two people who meet, fall in love, and are forever changed.
Brand: Bloomsbury USA
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm not sure what people are seeing in this book. I picked this up as a way to acquaint myself with New Zealand's colonial history before traveling there on vacation. The author, despite being well-versed in colonial history, displays a lack of sensitivity towards the terrible history of colonization in the way she talks about New Zealand and her now-husband. That history still impacts people today-- her account of it smooths over the reality it was for people then, and the ramifications colonization has on a society now. She romanticizes colonial history, and writes herself into that narrative, as an exciting time of adventure and "encounters" between people groups unfamiliar with each other. It is unfair and disingenuous to portray it like this, as if Europeans and native people were on equal footing. While it is true there was brutality on both sides, one side was invading the land of another and that land wasn't for Europeans to invade. What is disturbing to me is that she...
I've been to New Zealand only twice--not nearly enough. I've met Maories and regretted that my tourist schedule couldn't let me spend any more time than a few light conversations. Christina Thompson has devoted subtantially more time then that and committed to far more when she married a Maori named Seven.
Such a move compromises her objectivity as a cultural anthropologist, but so what? How many of them get the closeness and inside scoop that she has? Her research, going back to the orginal Dutch landing is all about the cultural clashes between Europeans and the first peoples of New Zealand. This is written in an entertaining and informative style, and the personal similarities between her new family and the annals of history are well done. The history is now relayed by a familiar voice; the personal details are kept sufficiently private--I never felt that her or her various familys' dignity was compromised.
The whole effect is comperable to a Bill Bryson...
Through reading this book I learned a lot about New Zealand history... and that's about it. There didn't seem to be much of an interesting story line to it and was quite difficult to follow at times. At one moment she would be talking about her and Seven then before I knew it I was back to the history lessons with not much of a transition or flow between the two stories. I also expected it to be somewhat of a love story between her and Seven but there wasn't really a romantic vibe in their story at all.
That being said, while it was a little hard to follow at times, it was still very informative and a good way to learn some of New Zealand's key history.
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